Lisa Sorg

Lisa Sorg

Assistant Editor and Environmental Reporter Lisa Sorg helps manage newsroom operations while covering the environment, climate change, agriculture and energy.

Spring is becoming the new summer, because of climate change

By: - March 1, 2023

Pine pollen is gilding our windshields. Azalea blooms are emerging from their winter sleep. The gawd-awful Bradford pear trees are stinking up the side streets. Today, March 1, is meteorological spring for those of you who observe. Meteorologists measure the seasons a bit differently to make it easier to compare weather and climate statistics and […]

Four years ago, a whistleblower and I broke NC’s ag-gag law. The environment and public health are better for it.

By: - February 26, 2023

Now that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled North Carolina’s ag-gag law — as it applies to news-gathering — is unconstitutional, I can tell you that I violated it. To be clear, I did not trespass, but I checked several of the law’s boxes. Likewise, the worker who agreed to document and obtain […]

Federal court of appeals rules NC’s ag-gag law is unconstitutional, signals a win for whistleblowers

By: - February 24, 2023

In a split decision the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling that North Carolina’s “ag-gag law” is unconstitutional and infringes on free speech. The three-judge panel ruled 2-1: Justices Henry Floyd and Albert Diaz, both appointed by President Obama, wrote for the majority. Judge Allison Jones Rushing, an appointee of President […]

ReBuild NC’s modular home program still faltering; hurricane survivors now receiving different housing types

By: - February 22, 2023

ReBuild NC’s highly touted modular home program, which state officials have claimed would be the fastest way to get hurricane survivors out of motels and into permanent housing, continues to falter, according to state data. Numbers provided by ReBuild NC to Policy Watch this week show that Rescue Construction Solutions has built 20 modular homes […]

In lawsuit against the EPA, North Carolina environmental, public health groups get their day in court over PFAS dispute

By: - February 21, 2023

Every day for more than 10 years, Richard Myers II unknowingly drank water contaminated with toxic PFAS. In the 1980s and ‘90s, when Myers was a student at UNC-Wilmington, DuPont – later spun off as Chemours – was pumping those chemical compounds into the Cape Fear River. From there, PFAS entered Wilmington’s drinking water supply and flowed from the taps of hundreds of thousands of people, including Myers.

Plastics, natural gas and substation attacks: environmental bills to watch this week

By: - February 20, 2023

With Medicaid, guns and anti-LGBT legislation consuming lawmakers’ time, only a few environmental bills have been introduced this session. The pace usually picks up — a gut-and-amend bill here, an ambush provision there — so enjoy the relative quiet while you can. That said, here are several bills worth watching this week as they emerge […]

Vinyl chloride is not just an Ohio problem. More than 5 tons are emitted into the air in North Carolina each year.

By: - February 20, 2023

In 2020, air permit holders in North Carolina emitted 5.5 tons of vinyl chloride — the same chemical that was released from rail cars during a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month. To illustrate the magnitude of that environmental disaster, an estimated 550 tons of vinyl chloride was released in East Palestine […]

Arsenic, benzene among contaminants found in soil, groundwater at former Weaver Fertilizer plant site

By: - February 16, 2023

Contaminated soil and groundwater have been found at the former Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, where a devastating fire forced the evacuation of thousands of nearby residents a little over a year ago. Several soil samples contained high levels of arsenic; groundwater had elevated concentrations of several chemicals, including nitrite, nitrate, and benzene — the […]

After investigation, state health, environmental officials say no radiation detected at former missile plant in Burlington

By: - February 16, 2023

[Update: Thursday, Feb. 16, at 11:32 am: Carl Smith, who is quoted in this story, shared a screenshot of an email from the NC Department of Health and Human Services saying that it had completed the investigation and found no radiation hazard. “We could not replicate the readings that you provided in your original allegation.”] […]

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announces $2 billion for small water systems to address PFAS contamination, $62 million for NC

By: - February 14, 2023

The water tower is the tallest structure in Maysville, a landmark to nudge visitors from US Highway 17 to Main Street, the heart of this small Jones County town. More than 70,000 gallons of water flowed each day from the tower, when four years ago, Lee Ferguson sampled the drinking water. “We were caught off […]

Tons of creosote-treated railroad ties burn, polluting air over largely non-white, low-income neighborhoods near Goldsboro

By: - February 12, 2023

From 25 miles away, an inky plume of smoke and its purple tail diffused over the eastern horizon. Closer to the blaze, smoke roiled and towered behind the tree line and a shopping center. It painted the sky over a subdivision. Its reflection floated on the Neuse River. Within a few hundred yards, flames licked […]

Ready to whip up a batch of vinegar? 20,000 gallons of acetic acid is looking for its forever home. Adopt it on NC Waste Trader.

By: - February 8, 2023

Every year the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division provides a Budget 101 for rookie lawmakers. Even if you’ve sat through the presentation a dozen times, it always unearths a new  and precious gem of information.  This year, I learned that 20,000 gallons of acetic acid, which makes up about 5% of vinegar, is sitting in three […]